Friday, August 7, 2009

Perfect autumn weather

Hi. Yep, perfect fall or autumn weather here on the YP - Yorke Peninsula, South Australia's barley growing region. The farmers are pleased with recent rain after the drought conditions of summer.

Cold? Well, cool, and I'm happy to have my indoor log fire. Just finished resharpening the chainsaw after a session next to the woodshed. Then I sprayed some weeds on my acre block. Gotta, or the District Council guys put rude notices in the letterbox, 'cos undergrowth, come summer, is a fire hazard.

Yesterday marked the 90th anniversary and re-enactment of the first airmail delivery in 1919 by local hero from Minlaton, Captain Harry Butler D.F.C in his own Bristol monoplane brought here from England. All the way from Adelaide, and "overseas" by virtue of crossing Gulf Saint Vincent.

The re-enactment was by 60-year old Tiger Moth, flown by QANTAS pilot Alistair Crawford who wryly explained that 45 knot headwinds meant he kept being overtaken by trucks as he flew a route following the Port Wakefield Road. The Tiger Moth yesterday did not cross the open water of the Gulf since the conditions were considered too unsafe (but were about the same as Harry Butler experienced in 1919). All this and no GPS or radio or suchlike. They were tough in those days. Not much chance of rescue either, back then.

The mayors of Adelaide and of Unley had sent letters of goodwill, just like in 1919. And the special guest at the afternoon ceremony, outside the Harry Butler Memorial hangar-like museum which houses the original "Red Devil" aircraft, was none other than modern aviator adventurer and all-round Aussie icon Dick Smith. Dick Smith spoke succinctly and his remarks were appreciated by a good-sized audience in the blustery condition. Other speakers were less succinct.

I attended the evening grub-fest in the Minlaton Town Hall with my companion J.B., a grand niece of the famous Harry B. himself. Truth to tell, it seemed as though every second person was a rellie of Harry B., who sadly was injured severely in an engine-failure crash just a couple of years after his return to the Peninsula. He never fully recovered and died eighteen months later, but is certainly well-remembered 90 years on. Fundraising is going ahead to erect a statue in the town, and Dick Smith has generously kicked in with a $2,000 donation. Onya!

Another amazing crop formation ("crop circle" is a bit of a misnomer) appeared within the past 24 hours next to Silbury Hill in Wiltshire, England. I stuck it up above for now, but will take it down. It is not a Sea and Ships theme, is it? Maybe Miscellany. Anyway, it's not my image to use but I offer this info here as a free promo for the great folk at

Think they're all fakes and hoaxes? The formations, I mean, not the great folk etc. Think again. I'll vouch for Stuart Dike, who does much of the ultralight aerial filming, often within hours of a formation being first reported. No, I don't know who or what the circle-makers are. Nice to have a bit of mystery in our lives.

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